Letter # 37 - Jan Rubingh is now 33, and little Mettje is 7. The minister of Wildervank, Rev. R.T. Kuiper, a widower with 7 children, has just accepted the call to Graafschap, Mich. He later wrote a book, “Eene Stem uit America over America” (“A Voice from America about America”), and mentions in it that when he arrived there, the only one to meet him whom he knew was J. Rubingh. This letter so full of love and longing is from Mother Mettje Jans Boer Rubingh, now 66.
Wildervank, March 13, 1879
Dear Son and Daughter,
By the undeserved goodness of the Lord we received your letter written on January 20 in a fairly good state of health, and from it we noted with joy that you are all well. I would have written a bit earlier, dear ones, but I wasn’t quite sure when Dominee and his family would depart on the boat. Now it’s set that he will leave on April 21 with the boat from Rotterdam.
Last Sunday, March 9, he preached his farewell from 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” The church was so full that there was no standing room. It was said that at least a hundred just went home.
Dominee asked me if I had a Brakel (a famous doctrinal book -ER), but I didn’t, so I gave him something else, Dear ones, so he could take care of it. He took many books along. We put in a little book for our little Mettje, too. May the Lord grant that this truth may be sanctified in her heart, and then she must write us whether she can read already. Can they read Dutch in your school, or do they use only English. Do they also use the Bible?
May the Lord grant that our Dominee and his family may come over to you in good health. We would have liked to have him stay, but now that he is leaving we are glad that he is coming to you. Dear ones, we are thankful for the invitation that you gave us in your letter. If only I could, I would love to fulfill your request; that you can surely understand. Dear ones, though I’d like to be with you all, this winter I’m not strong enough. Dominee also said that I should go to be with you for a year and then return here, and he said that because our roots are here. That would be possible if only the trip wasn’t so great, and the cost is far too great; that we all know. If I were ten years younger then perhaps I could make a better decision. Dear ones, may the Lord allow us to rest in his way.
Last Thursday Detmer went on his boat. Hendrik and Griet are still in the Pekeb(?). It will still be four weeks before the ship is ready. They had to make modifications to the ship; otherwise it wouldn’t be as good. Apart from that it still doesn’t look favorable for shipping. You must have the greetings from all of them.
On Thursday, March 23, Dominee left to spend the rest of the time with his wife’s family. Dominee’s father died three weeks ago. (Otherwise you wouldn’t understand where they were for the rest of the time.)
Our Marchien is here at home. I must give you her greetings and those of Grandfather and Grandmother and from many who ask about you. I can’t give you more details today. They (i.e. the church - ER) have already made a trio: A. van der Sluis from Sneek. E. Douma from Drachten, and H. van Hoogen from Hoogeveen. You must excuse my faulty writing.
Now dear ones, greet your family and give your dear little Mettje a kiss. How much we would like to see you. Write us back soon if you can. Now, dear ones, may the Lord be our Counsel and Guide on all our ways. Now having wished you the indispensable blessing of the Lord, I am your loving mother,
M. J. Boer
This time you are above all greeted by our Heichiena. They all want that I do the writing, but I can’t do it so well either.